Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Colorado National Monument

Monument Valley
A geological mish-mash of the most wondrous sort!  Everywhere one looks, a panorama of canyons, sheer-walled monoliths, valleys, and towering spires.

The CNM is a close cousin to the National Parks of Arches, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, and Mesa Verde, as all are situated on the vast Colorado Plateau. (As I too will be for the next month or so).

Both the Visitor Center and the campground are located atop a 5-mile climb along the CCC-built engineering marvel that is Rim Rock Road.

The ranger at the entrance gate says to expect Desert Bighorns up near the first tunnel entrance. Finally, I get a good look at the elusive creatures.

Little Bighorns!

Mom and Dad keeping a close eye on the GDB, which is by accident between them and their young.

There are plenty of rewarding hiking trails in the Park. This one ends abruptly in a box canyon.

 All with pay-off views like Independence Monument.

On a quiet Monday afternoon, I encounter few people. However, I do meet several jackrabbits going about the business of gathering dinner.

Even in this semi-arid environment, Nature proves, yet again, She is the Master landscaper.

CNM's Saddlehorn Campground, home for the night, gets its name from this formation.

Close-up view.

Though the clouds do not dissipate late in the day as I had hoped, spoiling a chance for stargazing, we do have a stellar sunset.

Time to celebrate another great day on the road!

Next Up
Leaving Colorado after a 2-month stay, I’m off to tour Utah’s Grand Circle. Here’s a look at what’s on the agenda.  Except for Las Vegas, not this trip anyway.  Though it looks less like a circle and more like a polyhexagon to me.

The storied Parks of Southern Utah have long been a gaping hole in my travel resume.  Seeing them all will take some serious trip planning.

The End!


  1. You have some exciting times ahead of you!

    1. Feels like the Xmas Eve when I knew I was getting an EZ Bake Oven.

  2. You are heading Into our favorite part of the US. No major planning required. Just follow the loop, dropping Las Vegas as you said. Then add Natural Bridges, Cedar Mesa, Goosenecks, Valley of the Gods,and a couple more. Great boondocking around al of them. Looking forward to the posts.

    1. I remember Wanda talking about Zion at the Bloggerfest and saying that is a favorite.

  3. If you liked CNM you will love southern Utah! Unfortunately it looks like no cool-down in sight for Moab anytime soon.

  4. And boy are you in for a treat in Southern UT! Love that part of the country!

  5. Looks like a great route. I did much of that route last year and went back for a little more this year. At Monument Valley, it's worth taking a tour down into the valley. We did a 1 1/2 tour (just my son and me) with Dine Bekeyah Tours. Here's a link to there site: http://www.dinehbekeyahtours.com/#about/monument-valley. We got to go by ourselves, picked the time, and had a nice guide. Well worth the $60 she (Charlene the owner) charged for each of us. Page is another great place. Antelope Canyon (you gotta pay to see it) and Horseshoe Bend are impressive.

  6. It looks a brilliant trip. Its sometimes hard to visualise the scale of the rocks / formations without seeing actually them. Have fun.

  7. Great pictures. You will love Utah. One of our favorite places

  8. I have very fond memories of many of those parks. I've been to Zion numerous times, and love it. You'll really enjoy it.


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